John Hopkins, the owner of John J. Hopkins & Associates in Alton and a frequent guest columnist for the Madison County Record, will soon join the league of southern Illinois attorneys featured in Leading Lawyers Magazine.

Hopkins, who focuses his practice in medical malpractice, personal injury, nursing home litigation and workers’ compensation, will appear in the magazine’s 2013 Consumer Edition this summer. He attributes his inclusion to recent rankings that place him among the top 50 consumer lawyers in southern Illinois.

“Leading Lawyers is a statewide organization where you have to be selected for membership by your peers based upon your career performances,” Hopkins said. “It was very flattering and very humbling to be included in that group, and to be asked to have a profile in the magazine was even more flattering and, perhaps, even more humbling.”

In the article, Hopkins describes his early work in the construction trade and how it shaped his law career. His grandfather, father, brother, two uncles and several cousins were members of the ironworkers’ union, so from age 16 to 23, he also worked with the ironworkers.

He explains that once he told his family he wanted to be a lawyer, his father helped him secure a temporary union card so he could work his way through college. He graduated from Saint Louis University in 1973 and the University of Tulsa College of Law in 1977.

The Leading Lawyers article follows Hopkins’ path after law school, highlighting his first job with the Law Offices of William Schooley in Granite City. There, he assisted with personal injury and workers’ compensation cases for many ironworkers. He later represented steel workers in workers’ compensation cases with Calvo & Guzzardo in Granite City and handled asbestos litigation with another small firm.

He opened John J. Hopkins & Associates in Edwardsville in 2002 and relocated the office to Alton in 2011.

Hopkins describes many of his memorable cases in the article, including one where he represented a class of 1,200 to 1,800 plaintiffs that accused Jackson National Life Insurance Co. of cheating policyholders out of annuities. The case settled for $28 million – after 14 hours of mediation – in St. Clair County Circuit Court in 2009.

The Leading Lawyers article includes comments from attorneys he worked with, as well as went up against, in court. Timothy Richards of Neville, Richards & Wuller LLC in Belleville says he has opposed Hopkins in medical malpractice cases for the past 30 years.

“I have the ultimate respect for John,” Richards said in the article. “He is always prepared. He always has a plan, and I have to say that among all the adversaries I have, he is an absolute gentleman. He fights hard and competently for his client, but on the other side, he is a gentleman and very professional.”

The article also mentions Hopkins’ other endeavors, such as serving on the board of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and as president of the Alton-Wood River Bar Association, and writing for the Madison County Record. According to his count, he has written more than 100 columns for the publication.

Hopkins hopes that those who read his articles realize his family background and early experiences gave him the ability to understand the lives of the people he represents. For him, he says, that’s the most important takeaway.

“Whatever successes I’ve had, they are due to the values I learned from my father, like hard work,” Hopkins said. “Beyond that, we really are our brother’s keeper. We’re here on earth to take care of each other. That’s why I practice as a plaintiffs’ lawyer.”

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